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Microsoft responds to Google's copycat claims, again

Microsoft fires back at Google over allegations that Bing's search index was copying Google's. It's the second assertion by the company in the past day.

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Following yesterday's fracas over whether Microsoft was culling search results from rival Google, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's senior VP of its Online Services Division, has weighed in, reiterating that Google's claims are false.

"We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop," Mehdi said in a post on Bing's community blog titled "Setting the record straight."

"We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting," Mehdi said.

Mehdi went on to mirror some of the statements made by Harry Shum, Microsoft's head of core search development, during the company's Farsight event. Shum had discussed allegations on stage with Google's head of Web spam, Matt Cutts; Mehdi outlined how Bing made use of anonymous click stream data, along with "more than a thousand inputs" to create Bing's ranking algorithm.

Mehdi said that Google's plan to check whether Bing was looking at that click stream data was "rigged to manipulate Bing search results," and called Google's honeypot attack "click fraud." He then compared Google's efforts to the the methods used by spammers to create fraudulent search result pages.

"What does all this cloak and dagger click fraud prove? Nothing anyone in the industry doesn't already know," Mehdi said. "As we have said before and again in this post, we use click stream optionally provided by consumers in an anonymous fashion as one of 1,000 signals to try and determine whether a site might make sense to be in our index."

Mehdi closed up the post by saying that the company would continue to focus on innovating the product, though added a jab about the timing of Google's honeypot discovery, saying it was directly related to some of Microsoft's recent improvements to Bing, which were "so big and noticeable that we are told Google took notice and began to worry," Mehdi said.